Tales from the Beak
Greetings from the frozen tundra to all my parrot friends!
Do I have a story for you! The other day mom bought a bag of oven fresh bites for us. She was eating a cookie while handing out our daily ration of oven bites. As she handed out the last of our treats, she accidentally put an oven fresh bite nugget in her mouth instead of her cookie! The way she carried on, you’d have thought she had swallowed poison. She might think they taste nasty, but we certainly enjoy those treats.
The whole incident reminds me of that letter I recently received from Kiki, a green cheek conure, who owns @ConureChick.
I swoon over your article in every issue. You give me a lot to think about.
But lately I have become quite concerned about my mom. Do you have any advice for me? I have caught her tasting all my food – My salad, my veggies, my sprouts, and now my pellets and nutriberries! I am wondering if she might have a vitamin deficiency? Or worse, could this be a sign of some deeper disturbance? Could she be morphing into a parrot? Please advise!
Your Admiring Yet Fretful Kiki in Florida
I don’t think you have anything to worry about. I have never heard of a human turning into a parrot. Think about it! On second thought, don’t think about it. Scary! Where is Stephen King when you need him?
If your mom turned into a parrot, who would clean your cage? Who would feed you? Who would shop for you? Rocky? Lola? I think not! The only thing those conures are good for is throwing food on the floor!
Could you imagine sharing your cage with your mom? Your perch? Humans have no perching ability! For heaven sake, you would be spending your entire life picking her off the cage grate!
Need I say more?
Kiki, your mom is bored. You just need to learn to like pellets and treats that have no smell, no taste, and no visual appeal – totally unappetizing food. If you’re lucky, maybe she’ll get hooked on people food, like Trix or Fruit Loops, and leave your food alone. Better yet, add some excitement to her life! Work your beak! You know the saying, “Use it or lose it.” Here are a few ideas – Redecorate the living room, demolish a few knickknacks, realign the legs on the kitchen chairs. Remember, whatever you destroy will be replaced with a bigger and better version. Once she’s busy cleaning up after you, she won’t have time to sit down, much less eat your nutriberries! Good Luck and Happy Shredding!
Until next time,
Tales from the Beak
Greetings to all my bird friends and their humans!
Recently, I attended Lucky Talking Bird’s New Year’s Eve party and met many wonderful friends there. Since this month we are having a Valentine’s Day photo contest, I thought I’d share some of my recent fan mail.
I would like to invite you to a new opera I’m starring in, “Viva La Chocolat.” As they say, it’s not over until the fat lady sings, and I AM THE FAT LADY, all 750 grams of cleavage! What can I say? I like spaghetti! In fact, when you come to visit, my mom will cook you up a feast fit for a king! Besides, you need to gain a few grams.
Remember my motto, a moment on the beak, forever on the seat!
Daisy (yellow-nape Amazon)
Well, Daisy, I certainly remembered meeting you at the party. You definitely stood out from all the crowd! I must say, I have never went out with “the fat lady”, but I’m sure it will be an experience of a lifetime. I look forward to seeing you soon.
Dear Morty Honey,
You are one gorgeous hunk of grey birdie! How have you been? I so enjoyed meeting you at Lucky’s New Years Eve party. You were such a gentleman to walk me home that night.
I am so sorry my human used her cane (or as you call it, “a three pronged spear”) to punt you into the neighbor’s yard!
I’ll let you know when “my old lady” goes on vacation, maybe we can get together. But for now, I sleep with the autographed picture of your big head under my pillow.
Chuckles (sulfur-crested cockatoo)
Hey, Chuckles, you are an absolute dish! Your mom, not so much. The next time I plan to visit you, plan to send your mom on a long vacation!
I am so looking forward to dancing the tango with you at the Valentine’s Day party. I have been practicing every day, and I found a pink dress for the occasion.
Please remember to bring a case of your 8×10 autographed big head pictures for me. I need them for a special project. See you soon.
Hello Flower! Rest easy. I have a case of pictures with your name on it. I look forward to seeing you. Do take it easy on the mixed drinks at the party, okay?
Dear Mr. Big Head,
Who do you think you are?
Don’t be poking your beak in my business and asking me for my phone number. I saw that picture of your big head, and I wasn’t impressed with your looks one bit. I am attracted to colorful types, not that drabby grey look! For heaven sake, didn’t your mom teach you how to dress!
Honestly, I looked at that picture and couldn’t decide whether you were a pigeon or a seagull! TAKE A HIKE!
Jesse Marie (female eclectus)
P.S. Tell your friend, Lucky, I just bought a grass skirt and I look absolutely fabulous in it!
Jesse Marie, if I put a good word in for you, could you, at least, put my picture in your cage? And not on the cage grate!!!
Well, folks, I need to get ready for a date tonight. I’m going to the opera with a gorgeous chick!
Till next time,
Tales from the Beak
Greetings to all my bird fans!
Today I want to discuss a very serious subject: my fear of germs and diseases. Like many of life’s problems, this one began early in my life, around the age of six months. My house is in the living room so I am privy to all conversations. Most people who call or visit are women, and they discuss everything from children, teaching and shopping to counseling, recipes, and the Bible; but their favorite topic seems to be ill health.
Honestly, some of the things I have heard made me so scared I thought my eyes would pop right out of my head! “Her foot swelled up like a eggplant!” ” The tumor was as big as a cantaloupe!” ” She was on the operating table for ten hours!” Of course, mom never helped the situation with all her old war stories and bottles of soap everywhere. Most importantly, none of these stories seemed to have had happy endings.
Now, having heard all those dreadful stories at such a young age, I am paranoid about bacteria, germs, viruses, parasites, fungi, and poisons. Actually, Joanna Berger and Mariah Hughes would be proud of me –I read Behavior Issues and Gen(i)us pages in each BirbObserver issue and fixate on the mention of disease in their articles. That is, of course, after I have read my own page to make sure mum hasn’t made any mistakes. (Good help is hard to find.)
But back to my plight, I think I have become a hypochondriac. Like the other day, mum was preparing a Bible study on leprosy. It is an awful disease, and back then it was incurable. People caught it by coming in contact with lepers. That’s why I don’t like going out of the house.
You can’t be too careful these days. Not too long ago, I saw a program on elephantitis on Discovery Channel. Now I constantly check my legs it see if one of them is swelling up like an eggplant! Sitting on a perch could become quite problematic! This disease comes from mosquitoes . . . . another reason not to go outside. I am constantly checking my feet for bumblefoot, too. Omg, who could live with an obituary like that? He died of terminal bumblefoot! So I find myself constantly reading the mother of all bird medicine books, Avian Medicine. I gross myself out looking at all the pictures!
Recently, mum has been saying I put on a few grams. She says since I like to play in my water bowl, maybe I should take up swimming. It might help me become more buffed. Whoever said swimming is good for the figure ought to take a good look at the whale.
Till next time,
Tales from the Beak
Crabby Diem! Twas the day after Christmas and Santa Claws came and left without leaving me a single thing I asked for! I think Santa Claws must be a goofy cat! Next year I am sending my list to Santa Macaw!
Now you are probably wondering what a mischievous bird like me would want from Santa. Just a few small things . . . nothing spectacular.
1. A cell phone so I could call all my fans when mom isn’t home and hopefully use up all her minutes and run her phone bill sky high.
2. A small flat screen TV and DVD player with Spectrum cable.
3. A small refrigerator that opens side by side and makes instant ice.
4. A pair of yellow puddle jumpers. I don’t exactly know what they are but they certainly sound mischievous!
5. Last, but not least, a muzzle for that screaming maniac, Sassy.
So what did I get for Christmas? The usual three toys from Planet Pleasures, which I promptly shredded, soaked in my water bowl, and threw on the floor. And I accidentally, on purpose, dropped a piece on mom’s head when she was bending over. All that remains is the head of Bamboo Man, which swings like the floating head of doom from the ceiling of my cage. I also got this ugly hammock. It doesn’t match a single thing in my house. When mom hung that ugly thing in my cage, I pitched a fit. I screamed, I stomped my feet, I clawed, I bit, I did everything to get her to remove it, but to no avail. There was only one thing left to do . . . unhook it and soak it in my water bowl and hope it would shrink or better yet, dissolve. Mom caught me in the act and promptly removed the detestable thing and gave it to Sassy.
Speaking of Sassy, the other day, she managed to unscrew her water bowl bracket. Down came the bracket, down came the bowl, and down came the water, all over her! Nice trick, except I would have moved.
By the way, Sassy laid another egg and she is crabby! Mom blames it on hormones. I don’t have the slightest idea what these hormone things are, but they sound awful! I hope I don’t get any, but if I do, I will bag them up and send them to Santa Claws.
Well, I should sign off for now. I just got a new rope swing. I looks like the Miracle Mop! I wonder . . . if I soak it in my water bowl, will it soak up all the water like it does on TV?
Happy New Year!
Tales from the Beak
This tale comes from The Chronicles of Zac Squiggles. (Zac was a brown headed parrot about the size of a lovebird. He had the personality of an Amazon with a sassy beak and an attitude to match.)
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring. . . notice I said, not a creature was stirring, of course, that doesn’t include me! I was starving so I thought I’d run downstairs and raid some of the Christmas goodies. Now this would mean making peace with the green wing macaw named Billie, who guarded the downstairs like he owned it. There was no task too great that a smooth talking poicephalus parrot like myself couldn’t undertake. Besides, one day I would grow up to be as big as Goliath, the mutant yellow nape Amazon who was staying downstairs. Believe me, I certainly wasn’t missing his loud mouth. It would only be a matter of time before I would show the bird world what I was made of.
But now I must tackle the task at hand. Meshach (Senegal) and Nehemiah (red-bellied parrot) were having a contest who could say the most words. Benje, an eclectus, affectionately known as mommy’s little piggy, was making his usual mess, and Cherokee (hawkhead parrot) was taking a nap. Mom was working on something called Word writing God knows what. It was time for me to make a bee line for the stairs. I got out of the bird room without anyone noticing. Usually, Cherokee would sound the alarm. Now to get down all those stairs…I think I worked off about 100 grams crawling down them.
As I rounded the corner, sure enough, there sat Billie, the green wing macaw, on a perch in the living room. The gargantuan bird began to dance and jump up and down. His red feathers stood straight up on his head. He had a demonic laugh and beady eyes that seemed to pierce me through and through. Billie stood guard over the fireplace, but I could only imagine a furnace with thick black smoke billowing out! All this macaw needed was a pitchfork! Maybe Billie was short for Beelzebub? The next thing I knew the bird was gargling something that sounded like, “Zac, step up!” Great Cougley Mougley! He knows my name! I thought my eyes were going to pop right out of my sockets! I certainly wasn’t going to stick around and be fuel for the fires of hell! I hightailed it back up those stairs in half the time it took me to go down them. So much for an evening snack. . .
To all my bird friends and their humans, have a Merry Christmas and I’ll see you next year!
Tales from the Beak
The place I live is called the Village. The people here are called the Village People. My mom is known as the Bird Whisperer, and I am the Village Crank.
Sometimes I feel like I belong to an endangered species, one of the few remaining cranks in existence. Let me explain, I’m not talking about your everyday garden variety crank, someone who goes around crabbing at friends and neighbors for no good reason other than being in a bad mood. I’m talking about the kind of bird who gets cranky because people, animals, and other birds make him that way. A bird who has the courage to scream at impolite, nosy outside birds and cats! A bird who has the courage to tell off an inefficient mom who orders only three toys at a time from Planet Pleasures. Doesn’t she know by now I love their toys, I can destroy two in a day! Then I have to wait until another shipment comes in! I could just spit nails! A bird who has the courage to tell off a discourteous Jardine parrot, who screams at the most inopportune times, like when I am trying to sleep!
In short, a bird who takes it upon himself to keep the rest of society in line. A case in point, the other day I was just settling in for an afternoon nap when Sassy, a Jardine parrot, started screaming her silly head off. You’d think she’d gotten a life by now. But no, she spends every waking moment cursing in Jardine. Well, I was in no mood to listen to that hogwash and I have the attitude to prove it! I mustered up a full head of steam and let out an imitation of the smoke alarm. Let me tell you, it was magnificent! I even startled myself. It sent the birds crashing to the bottom of their cages. And there was silence in the bird room for the space of an hour. Later, Nehemiah, a red-bellied parrot, let me know in African bird language, “I’m glad you did that. You should try living next to her!” For heaven’s sake, why didn’t he say something? You see, that’s the way it goes when you are the designated CRANK. You’re always out there on your own while other, presumably better adjusted, birds just keep quiet and take it.
Then there’s the matter of that little ugly dog, I think it’s a chupacabra, and it uses my lawn as a public toilet! What is this world coming to? What’s worse, mom has the uncanny knack of finding those unmentionables and stepping in them!!! Whoever said stepping in THAT is good luck needs their head examined. Mom certainly doesn’t act like she has won the lottery after stepping in THAT! She’s in a bad mood and we have to put up with her ranting.
Whoever said a bird’s life is easy? So as you can see, being a CRANK is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. As the cliche says, it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.
Tales from the Beak
I would like to dedicate this column to Holiday Cooking with Morty and me.
Thanksgiving day, 5 am: Get up and have a cup of coffee. It’s going to be a long day so I place Morty on the perch near by to keep me company while I cook. . .
Then remove Morty from the counter and place him back on the perch. Prepare the stuffing.
Remove Morty from the edge of the stuffing bowl. Stuff the turkey and place it in the roasting pan.
Remove Morty’s head from the turkey’s cavity and re-stuff the voided area. Prepare the relish tray. Make a double batch so there will be enough after Morty has had his fill.
Remove Morty from the counter. Have another cup of coffee to steady my nerves.
Remove Morty from the counter. Prepare cranberry sauce, discard berries with bite marks. Peel potatoes.
Remove Morty from the potato bowl. Arrange sweet potatoes in a pan and cover with brown sugar and mini marshmallows.
Remove Morty from the edge of the pan and replace missing marshmallows. Brew another pot of coffee. While it is brewing, clean up shredded filter. Have another cup of coffee, and remove Morty from the counter. When it’s time to serve the meal, place the roasted turkey on the platter and cover beak marks with strategically placed strips of parsley. Put mashed potatoes in the bowl. Re-whip at last minute to hide beak marks and talon prints. Place pan of sweet on side board.
FORGET PRESENTATION! There is no way to hide the missing marshmallows.
Put the rolls in basket, and remove Morty from the edge of the basket along with the bitten rolls and serve what’s left. Set a stick of butter out on the counter to soften. On second thought, put the butter back in the fridge. Wipe down counter to remove mashed potato tracks.
Remove Morty from the counter and cut pie into slices. Wipe whipped cream from Morty’s beak and place large dollops of what’s left on slices of pie. Whole slices will be served to Kat, Linda, and Lavender, reserving bitten slices for the hostess, Mary and Sherri.
Place Morty back in his cage and lock the door.
Sit down to a nice dinner, accompanied by cries of, “Mom! Feed me! I hungry!” Coming from Morty in the other room.
Tales from the Beak
Greetings to all my bird friends! You know, mom has photography and gardening as her hobbies, so I decided to take up birdwatching as my relaxing hobby. When I was younger, I was a casual birdwatcher. There were two categories of birds. All small birds were sparrows, all large birds were seagulls. But my attitude has changed on this subject. There are birds of all different sizes, shapes and colors. As I thought things through, they couldn’t possibly all be sparrows and seagulls!
Now I heard that if you want to get serious about birdwatching, you need a good pair of binoculars and a bird identification book. (I immediately told Alexa to order these items. Mom will be so happy I took the initiative).
I was so excited when the package arrived that I could hardly contain myself! My elation turned to frustration with both the book and the binoculars. First off, the book is way to heavy for me! It’s about five times my size! And before I can narrow down my choices, the bird has flown away! By the time I focus the silly binoculars, I am looking in the wrong tree! What’s a bird to do? If, by chance, I find the right tree, by the time I focus on the bird, it’s gone! Just plain irritating! Now some birds are best recognized by their song. Ever try and get a bird to sing into a microphone? Then I read how to distinguish birds by size, color and markings. For instance, woodpeckers, there are certain kinds that look alike, but their size helps you determine what kind of woodpecker they are. Just one problem with that, ever try to get a wild bird to cooperate? Honestly, I am constantly running around with a ruler, trying to get those crazy woodpeckers to sit still long enough so I can measure them! I must be totally insane to take up birdwatching as a relaxing hobby! I am just too pooped to perch!
Until next time,
Tales from the Beak
Hello birds and human companions! This tale comes from the Chronicles of Zac Squiggles. Mom needed a story for Halloween so she reverted to a former story in time, which she will do every so often.
Zac Squiggles was a brown headed parrot about the size of a lovebird. He had the personality of an amazon, with a sassy beak and an attitude to match.
One day, just before Halloween, Zac decided to play a trick on Mother. The day started out as any other day. When he heard mother coming to feed him, he grabbed his little green wing macaw mask, slipped it on his head, and waited for mother to draw back the cage cover. As she drew it back, he jumped off the perch and lunged towards the cage door. He expected to give mother the scare of her life, but all she did was laugh and call him a “silly little bird”. Well, he was not about to be ridiculed by a human! Poicephalus parrots rule! He would put all birds in fear of him! So with his green wing macaw mask on, he ventured out of his bird room and hopped down the stairs. He hadn’t realized there were so many stairs! He was planning to scare those 2 silly caiques, Sassy and Brat. He would give them something to scream about! All he had to do was find the room they were staying in. That would be easy…just follow the screaming. As he rounded the staircase, he heard a guttural noise come from the living room. It growled “hello.” He hadn’t recognized the voice, so he decided to investigate. Besides, he was a big bird now and he had a mask on. He looked in the direction of the voice, and there sat a gargantuan bird sitting on a tree. With its feathers sticking straight up on its red head and it’s eyes flashing, it began laughing hysterically at him. Well, he had never seen a demon before, but he sure wasn’t going to stick around to see if it was one! Zac high tailed back to his room as fast as his little legs and wings would take him. He vowed not to venture out of the bird room unattended again! (well, at least, not for a few weeks anyway.) But that’s another story…
Tales from the Beak
Hello Bird Fans! Today I want to talk about a very important subject – retarhdment. I live in a place where people come to retarhd when they turn 62. Being 18 months old now, I believe I should be a bird of leisure. But something always gets in the way! For instance, I have to yell at Sassy for being too loud; I need to rearrange the furniture in my cage; I need to destroy the new toy mom just put in my cage; or I need to design another picture window in my cage cover. Those chores seem to kill the entire day!
For instance, I’ve been thinking about doing a little fishing. You know, like you see in the commercials…someone wearing a floppy hat and standing in knee deep water casting a trout fly. The only problem I see with this picture is ME in it! I am just too busy! Besides, I look terrible in hats, especially floppy ones! I have never been much of a fisherman. The only fishing I have ever done was in my water bowl. And I have never caught a single fish. NOT EVEN ONE! And the times I have tried fly casting, I have gotten my leather strip caught on my evil swing! Ugh! I get irritated just thinking about it! It makes me wonder why I am even thinking about fishing?
Maybe I should take up golf? Then again, it takes a lot of time to play a round of golf! I got soup to make, toys to chew, cage cover windows to design, and I got this column to write and…whew, I could use a vacation. BIRDMUDA, here I come!
‘Til next time,
Tales from the Beak
Hello Birb fans! My name is Morty. I am an African Grey. Mother bought me when I was only a few months old. She thought I was the cutest little angel she ever laid eyes on. She had no idea what sort of little insect I really am. Personally, I think my cuteness makes up for all my mischievousness. Mother may have other thoughts on that, but we won’t discuss that. The reason I am writing this column is to give you humans a bird’s eye view about how we feel about life.
My first topic is music. I frequently get complaints about humans leaving the radio on when they go to work. What’s a bird to do about their humans’ awful taste in music? I have good news for you! There is new music out on iTones called “Screech with the Music” for parrots. Selections include “Wind beneath my wings” by Beak Midler, “Wings over troubled water” by Simon and Galahfunkel, “Hatched in the USA” by Budgie Springsteen, “Material bird” by Madonna Conure and, “I will always fluff you” (soundtrack from Birdy Guard) by Whitney Toucan. All this, plus other famed screeches such as Mynah Bolton, Mariah Canary, and Lory Estefan.
There is something here for every parrot! This download is a must. I would buy it myself, but I’m a little short on cash. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, I have enough money to last me a lifetime…provided I walk across freeways! Oh, by the way, I’m also a lawyer…Better Call Morty!
‘Til next time,